They may be down after a hat-trick of losses in the Indian Super League football, but FC Goa head coach Zico today asserted that his side were definitely not out and would bounce back into reckoning for the play-offs.
“All games ahead of us are difficult, but we have it in us to bounce back. Football is a game of ‘change’,” the 63-year-old Brazilian legend said on the eve of their away match against Atletico de Kolkata here tomorrow.
“If we win tomorrow, we will be two points behind Kolkata. Nothing is lost. We have to keep doing our best,” the coach of the last season’s runners-up side said.
Zico’s mantra for success is simple, to finish among top four to make to make it to the play-offs.
“First or fourth place in table doesn’t matter, as long as you make the playoffs. There is no advantage in finishing first or fourth… We will try to make the knockout stage.”
Describing ATK a strong opponent, he said: “Kolkata are a very nice team. We will do our best to neutralise their power. We need to keep working hard.”
“We never mark man to man. We adapt zones. We will keep our philosophy and mark by zones.”
The Gaurs’ build-up to the third season has not been ideal as they were slapped a whopping fine of Rs 11 crore while co-owners Srinivas Dempo and Dattaraj Salgaocar were banned for two and three seasons respectively for “bringing disrepute” to the tournament.
The duo have sold their stakes in the club and they were acquired by Deltin Group’s Jaydev Mody.
On the field, the Goans have lost to NorthEast United, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin, conceding six goals in three games.
“We have to pay a price for last season final things. As we have a new team with new players,” Zico said.
The legendary footballer and coach talked about the need for the involvement of more Indians and a longer league.
“We can have more Indians in key positions. Now all key positions in the forward, midfield and defence are occupied by foreigners. A longer league will also help better,” he said.
“So far we have more foreigners playing than the Indians. It will not be helpful.”
Ruing that the national team’s improvement has been minuscule, he said: “See the results of the national team. Not improving much. We have new talents in ISL, but overall there’s a way to go in terms of development of Indian football. Everything has a start.”